With draft day fast approaching, it’s time to go over the players who could end up being steals on day two. While the write-ups will be shorter, the players are still more than capable of becoming household names in the next decade. Some might go earlier than the third round. Others might wait a long time for their name to be called. Without further ado, we present the first six prospects who missed out on our top 64. Here we will focus on Scouting Reports: Prospects 65-70.
2023 NHL Draft Scouting Reports
65) Luca Cagnoni, Defender, Portland Winterhawks, WHL, 5’9″ 183 lbs
Here is the first of the Scouting Reports: Prospects 65-70. While Axel Sandin Pellikka is viewed as the top offensive defenseman in the draft, he is by no means the only one. One of the more hidden players who can drive a team’s offence from the backend is Luca Cagnoni. The Canadian defender possesses great awareness and high mobility. He is constantly looking for ways to get involved in the play and his stickhandling allows him to create lanes for either shots or passes. His passing is great, but his shot needs work to make him a dual threat from the point. His decision-making also could improve as he can get caught in the offensive zone, which takes him out defensively.
66) Matthew Mania, Defender, Sudbury Wolves, OHL, 6’0″ 187 lbs
Another defender who has tremendous offensive upside is Matthew Mania. The Sudbury Wolves defender is a high-risk, high-reward player with great skating and playmaking. He displays great offensive awareness and can create some highlight-reel moments with his skating and passing. It comes at the expense of his defensive game being flawed. He struggles a bit in his own zone and can get caught in the offensive zone, leaving his team shorthanded defensively. Consistently also needs to improve, but if he can become a more reliable defensive player while staying an offensive dynamo, he could become one of the steals of the draft.
67) Cameron Allen, Defender, Guelph Storm, OHL, 5’11″ 190 lbs
Yet another option for a team looking for a defender with great skating is Cameron Allen. At the start of the year, many saw him as a potential first-round pick, but his season never took off as expected. However, the upside of great skating and a strong two-way game is still there. On top of that, his work rates are great, and he has a lot of leadership qualities. Something that showed when he was named captain of Team Canada at the U18 World Championships.
Overall, Allen falls into the category of a jack of all trades, master of none, where there is a lot of work to do before he is NHL-ready. His decision-making especially needs to improve as it often felt like he tries far too much. His ceiling might not be as high as some of the other players, but he does have the skill set to become a very solid second-pairing defenseman.
68) Felix Unger Sörum, Right Winger, Leksands IF J20, J20 Nationell, 5’11″ 172 lbs
An option for teams looking to find a forward with a good upside and high floor is Felix Unger Sörum. The Swedish forward has a great hockey sense, making him a dangerous playmaker with his vision. He is able to see the openings in the defensive structure and adapt to pressure at a high level. His shot needs some work, to add another dimension to his offensive game. Defensively he works hard and has a great tenacity to his game. His skating could be improved to benefit from his great work ethic truly. The skating isn’t terrible, but he lacks that extra step to help his translation into the pro game, where he won’t have as much freedom with the puck.
69) Noah Dower Nilsson, Center, Frölunda HC J20, J20 Nationell, 6’0″ 183 lbs
In terms of raw offensive talent, not many in the upcoming draft are as good as Swedish center Noah Dower Nilsson. His upside is clear to see, as he has a wonderful and NHL-ready shot, great offensive instincts, and brilliant creativity and puck handling. He also sees his teammate well in the offensive zone and can make some high-level passes that split the defense apart. In short, he is the player you want with the puck in the offensive zone.
So why is he outside the top 64? That comes down to his skating, off-the-puck movement, and poor hockey IQ. His skating isn’t great, and it really hampers his ability to get open and involved in the game. He also lacks the sense to find the open ice to receive a pass which makes him look lazy or disengaged for a lot of his time on the ice. His decision-making with the puck also needs a ton of work as he often makes risky and unnecessary passes or shots through traffic. Bearing that in mind, the upside of Dower Nilsson is extremely hard to pass over if he is available after the second round. He could be one of those player people wonder how fell so far in the near future if he can fix his issues and light the lamp in the NHL.
70) Martin Misiak, Center, Youngstown Phantoms, USHL, 6’2″ 198 lbs
Here is the final of the Scouting Reports: Prospects 65-70. The counter opposite to Noah Dower Nilsson would be Martin Misiak. The Slovak plays an extremely reliable two-way game with good skating. He puts pride in his defensive responsibilities and brings a ton of energy to the game. Offensively he is great on the forecheck with his quick acceleration and great skating mechanics. While he lacks a bit of physical snarl to his game, he doesn’t shy away from it either.
He doesn’t have the greatest shot, nor does he use it a ton. He often relies on his great decision-making, speed, and passing to contribute offensively. While he doesn’t have the greatest hands his floor is among the highest in the draft. In many ways, Misiak reminds me a lot of Frans Nielsen, as both were exceptional centers, with a defense-first mentality. For teams looking to add a responsible middle-six forward with great skating, Misiak could be the answer.
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